Skip to main content

Mutai smashes London Marathon record as Kenyans dominate

Emmanuel Mutai breaks the finish tape in central London as he ends the two-year title reign of fellow Kenyan Martin Lel.
Emmanuel Mutai breaks the finish tape in central London as he ends the two-year title reign of fellow Kenyan Martin Lel.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Kenyans dominate London race with Emmanuel Mutai and Mary Keitany winning
  • Mutai claims his first major marathon victory with fifth-fastest time run by a man
  • Keitany wins women's race by 56 seconds in fourth quickest time by a female
  • British event attracts more than 35,000 competitors ahead of 2012 Olympics

(CNN) -- Kenyan runner Emmanuel Mutai laid down a marker for the 2012 Olympics by winning his first London Marathon in a course-record time on Sunday.

Runner-up in the men's race last year, the 26-year-old came home in two hours four minutes and 40 seconds to eclipse the 2:05.10 set by compatriot Samuel Wanjiru in 2009.

He ran the fifth-fastest time in marathon history as he ended the two-year title reign of Martin Lel -- who was more than a minute behind in second place.

Lel edged out a third Kenyan, Patrick Makau, in a sprint finish as both clocked 2:05:45.

Marathon star Haile Gebrselassie shares his secrets

My dreams have come true because I had it in my mind that one day I would win one of the five major marathons
--Emmanuel Mutai
RELATED TOPICS

The African nation tasted further success in the women's race, where Mary Keitany headed off defending champion Liliya Shobukhova of Russia by 56 seconds, while Edna Kiplagat claimed third in her race debut.

Mutai, the runner-up at the 2009 World Athletics Championships, said he was delighted to finally win a major event.

"My dreams have come true because I had it in my mind that one day I would win one of the five major marathons," he told the UK Press Association.

"I was second here and in New York last year, but today has finally come for me. My aim was just to win, I was not focusing on the time, but I tried my best to push it when I saw we were inside world-record pace at one stage.

"It was fantastic to win the race and improve my personal best."

Marathon mission: Why those final steps are a killer

Keitany is also a major contender for 2012 in the UK capital, having shaved almost 10 minutes off her time in New York a year ago as she came home in 2:19:19 -- the fourth-fastest women's time.

The 29-year-old did not have to compete against record-holder Paula Radcliffe, who missed her home race for the second year in a row but will return to action in a 10 kilometer race next month for her first outing since the 2009 New York Marathon.

"I think I surprised myself because I was running with the champion from last year and I was a bit scared," Keitany told PA. "But then I started to believe in myself that I could do it and I feel very happy."

The race attracted more than 35,000 competitors, with British celebrities taking part alongside the general public -- some running for fun and others to raise money for charity.

One English couple stopped six miles from the end to get married, PA reported, while there were 34 records recognized by Guinness including fastest times for a super hero, cartoon character and marching band.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia's Gebrselassie Tsegaye Reda became the first non-Kenyan in five years to win the Belgrade men's marathon in Serbia on Sunday.

He came home in 2:14:41 to head off Kenya's Michael Rutto Chetoo, while Reda's compatriot Tadele Geremew Mulugeta was third.

Kenya's Frashiah Nyambura Waithaka won the women's race in 2:34:31.